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3 huge reasons why you must have an estate plan

Don't think that you're too young to have an estate plan, or that you don't have enough assets. Don't assume that you can put it off and do it next year. Experts have noted that there are a few huge reasons why you need to get your plan in place right now, such as:

-- Protecting beneficiaries from themselves. Perhaps you're going to leave money to minors -- like your grandchildren -- or adults who you are afraid may waste it. Doing nothing and passing down cash can open the door to all sorts of mistakes that can be made with your hard-earned money. A proper estate plan can use trusts and other tools to control the money, avoid costly mistakes and protect both your estate and your heirs.

-- Avoiding the probate process. Having an estate plan in place means everything is done exactly how you want it to be done. You get to make the decisions, you get to be in control of your assets and you get peace of mind knowing your wishes will be respected.

-- Eliminating conflicts. If you don't have an estate plan, you leave a mess behind for your family to sort out. Not only is this stressful and time-consuming, but it can cause fights between family members. They may not all see eye-to-eye. Some family members may feel slighted. Multiple people could become bitterly angry over the division of assets -- which is happening at a highly emotional time, after all. When you have a plan, it helps to ensure that your family isn't divided for years to come.

Essentially, an estate plan allows the process to go smoothly, it gives you a voice and it helps your family on many fronts. Make sure you know what must be done to legally get a plan in place.

Source: The Balance, "Top 5 Reasons Why You Need an Estate Plan," accessed Jan. 06, 2017

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